Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated on the darkest new moon night of the month of Kartik in the Hindu calendar. It marks the victory of good over evil. For Hindus, Jains and Sikhs, it also commemorates historical or mythological events that symbolise the triumph of knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.
Rituals associated with Diwali have deep spiritual significance. Before Diwali, people clean and decorate their homes and workplaces. On Diwali night, they light lamps in their homes and offer prayers invoking Lakshmi, goddess of wealth. These practices are ritualised expressions of rejuvenation of human soul in its journey through time.
The cleaning before Diwali symbolises cleansing that the soul must undergo to be able to receive and retain the wisdom and virtues that God gives. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi does not enter homes that are not clean, and so people get rid of clutter and make sure that every corner of their dwelling is clean before Diwali.
While one can hoard money and possessions in a messy house, the true wealth of the soul, which is wisdom, cannot be retained in an impure mind.
If the mind is polluted by vices, one will have no inclination to seek wisdom or cultivate virtues that make humans divine. Even if one is given spiritual knowledge, one will not be able to retain it, just as heavily soiled clothes do not absorb water and instead repel it. And an evil mind will use even the knowledge it has to achieve wrong ends, as illustrated by the story of the demon king Ravana, who is said to have been a great scholar.
The cleaner the mind, the more one is attracted to all that is good and noble, and such a mind seeks enlightenment.
Lamps that adorn homes during Diwali symbolise the light of knowledge. Just as darkness causes fear and brings sorrow in the form of mishaps, ignorance of one’s true identity leads to suffering, as body-consciousness gives rise to vices that corrupt our thoughts and actions. Diwali does not just mark the mythical victory of Rama over Ravana; it is a celebration of the light of spiritual knowledge dispelling the darkness of ignorance which masks one’s true identity as an immortal being.
Happiness is the fruit of good actions, which in turn flow from pure thoughts and feelings. Noble thoughts will come naturally to us only if we have cleansed our mind and cultivated virtues such as love, kindness, purity and truth which, like the fragrance of flowers, enrich human life and bring joy to relationships.
Deities invoked during Diwali are physical representations of virtues. Goddess Lakshmi, popularly associated with the festival, is shown seated on a lotus, holding a lotus blossom, one each in two of her four arms, while one palm is raised in blessing and another showers gold coins. The lotus is a symbol of purity, as the flower remains untouched by the mud in which it blooms. Blessings and gold signify generosity and abundance.
These are the qualities we need to invoke during Diwali in order to enrich our lives, as without them, no amount of material wealth can bring us true wellbeing and happiness.
(The writer is chief spokesperson of Brahma Kumaris Organisation)
The views expressed in the Article above are Author’s personal views and kashmiribhatta.in is not responsible for the opinions expressed in the above article.
Courtesy: The Times of India: The speaking tree: 7th Nov, 2018